Business Relationship Management - what's it all about?Apr 19, 2021
Both the 2Saints partners have hands on experience at senior levels in the world of IT Business Relationship Management. What was once a dark art is now mainstream and key to the successful technological transformation of business ....
2) It allows the IT department to communicate their needs and strategy
To put BRM into showbiz terms, the role is a bit like Tom Hagan in the Godfather. Tom was the consigliere to the boss! A consigliere can act as an advisor, mediator, represent people in meetings, help with negotiations and overall they hear and see everything. They are often one of the few people who can debate / disagree with the boss on certain decisions or plans, because of the nature of the job. This means the person cannot just be a yes man / woman!
Overall, a BRM needs to be someone that the business units and leaders have ultimate faith and trust in. A BRM works at all levels to get the job done.
The type of person for a BRM role
A BRM is a hybrid person who understands the business, whilst also understanding IT teams and technology. They can talk in layman's terms, but also technical when necessary. Not everyone can do this, therefore finding the right person can be hard - it would be naive to think that just anyone can do it.
A BRM’s knowledge of the business units and technology needs to be broad but not necessarily deep. Of course the deeper the better, but that can be very hard when a person has many areas of responsibility etc, therefore a good BRM will develop and nurture a network of subject matter experts (SME’s) that they can be their goto’s when necessarily - within the business and within IT.
Key traits of a good BRM are:
- Business and tech savvy
- Politically astute
- Cool headed
- Thick skinned
- Ability to hold their nerve
A good BRM is seasoned in their role. They are primarily customer focused and many people who move into the BRM role tend to come from a Services or Business Project Management background. In the majority (but not always), someone who is or has been very technical in their role, is not a good fit for a BRM role.
When training is required, for example, when there is a team of BRM’s and you want to have consistency within that team, at a basic, the following should be trained -
- Presentation skills
- Mentoring to colleagues
- Business case writing
- Relationship science / management / building
- How to say no
- Conflict Management
- Influencing others
- Stakeholder management
- Personal selling skills
- Communication styles
To move into the psychology of how people are and how they operate, a great method is the use of Discovery Insights - this can allow the BRM to analyse people from afar to maximise the relationship(s).
Key tools of BRM
There are some key tools / methods that a BRM should use / engage with. They are:
Who is important and who is not!
At a basic, use RACI - who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed
Business Unit Overview
Detail everything needed to know about the business unit, with explanation of how IT can help or is impacted. Provide a view of your thoughts on requirements, challenges, risks/concerns (SWOT analysis) - at bit like an IT Strategy document, but for a singular business unit
Project Prioritisation Tool
There are various models available in various PM tools. Decide on a method and use this to help prioritise the business needs. A prioritisation tools should only have 5 or 6 key questions
Benefits Dependency Network
When working out if something should be progressed or not
Maintaining the flow
Communication is key between all parties. The BRM is responsible for this. The BRM need to keep the various leaders informed of needs/requirements and issues. Drive / ensure they are being managed by the relevant teams.